KITV 4 News has learned the Honolulu Police Department has placed a Kailua patrol officer on leave without pay after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female suspect while he was on duty and in uniform.
The officer, who's been with HPD for four years, is accused of raping a 47-year-old woman in the second-floor parking structure next to the Kailua Longs Drugs store.
Sources familiar with the case said the officer told co-workers they had consensual sex and that he admitted to friends he failed a lie detector test administered by HPD after the incident.
Witnesses said he pulled his blue and white police car next to the woman's vehicle behind a pillar in the parking structure at mid-afternoon on Sept. 16, making it hard to see what they were doing.
Sources said the woman was suspected of stealing some kind of handbag or purse from Macy's Kailua, next door to Longs.
The accused officer came on shift at 2 p.m. that day, relieving two other officers from the earlier shift who were questioning the woman in front of the Longs store, a source said.
A witness told police he saw the officer patting down the woman in the second floor of the Longs parking garage, according to a source familiar with the case.
Investigators said that raises red flags for two reasons. The first is that police are taught to search people in the open where there are plenty of witnesses. Secondly, officers said that violated standard procedure to call in a female officer to search a female suspect or at least summon a second officer to observe a body search.
"What this man has done is wrong. He should be put in his place, put in jail, in prison," the woman's aunt said, noting that her niece had a brain aneurism in 1999 and has had mental problems since then. KITV 4 News is not identifying the alleged rape victim, her aunt or the officer, who has not been charged with a crime.
The alleged victim was not charged in the Kailua incident, but did get arrested at Macy's Kahala Mall the next day in another shoplifting case. She's at Oahu Community Correctional Center, unable to post $20,000 bail for several burglary and theft cases.
The woman appeared in circuit court Wednesday, and a judge denied her request for supervised release. Her public defender is asking the court to approve a panel of three mental health experts to evaluate her mental ability to stand trial.
Sources familiar with the case said because officer is claiming they had consensual sex and the alleged victim has mental problems and a criminal record, proving the sex assault criminal case may be very difficult for prosecutors.
So the toughest punishment the officer may face is firing from the police department, which has an internal investigation under way.
?This is an affront to his fellow officers and to the department,? said one police department supervisor familiar with the case. ?She was a suspect, and he was on duty. What was he thinking??